This week’s theme: recovering a sense of power. Not so sure if I’ve recovered a sense of “power” or what this “power” is supposed to feel like. I will say that I continued with the Morning Pages. 7 for 7 again. Admittedly, more than a few days were mid-afternoon, or just-before-bed pages, but they did happen. I did slack a bit this week with keeping up with last week’s “little changes”: meditating & getting up earlier. But I still want to do those things, so I’m just letting this week be what it was. I did have some days where all three of those things happened. I choose to focus on those days. (more…)

Yes, I can honestly say, today was a good day.

It started off mundane enough. If anything, it had all the makings of a bad day: gray, cloudy, rainy outside; didn’t sleep well the night before; & woke up later than I’d wanted.

But finally got out the door & went to meet one of the members of my writing group for coffee. I dragged my laptop along with me, I guess with the intention of writing; but I didn’t. Instead, we ended up having a 3 hour conversation that really just made my day. We talked about writing & our respective novels, & our respective procrastination. We’re both on the same page. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone. I explained the plot of my WIP & it was nice to hear someone else say it sounded interesting. It was also good to bounce some ideas off on her & get feedback. If anything, it gave me a little kick in the butt that I really have something here & I need to get it done already!

But for the most part we talked about our lives. The nice thing about her is that she actually has a lot of the same spiritual beliefs as my mother. My mother was very involved in metaphysical/new age thinking, as well as her Native American belief system. So, she wasn’t exactly your typical mother. She always kept it interesting to say the least. So talking to her, it was nice to be around someone who thinks the way my mother did. Our get together really put me in a great mood even though we were talking about death. Go figure.

Then this evening I got to have fun. I went to the New Kids on the Block concert here in LA. Yes, I was/am a New Kids on the Block fan. Nsync & Backstreet Boys were after my time. I went to my first New Kids concert here in LA when I was 14 with my oldest/best friend C. Funny enough, my mother bought me the tickets for my 14th birthday. I went on to see them 2 more times in concert as a teenager. One trip even involved my mother driving me from Albuquerque to Phoenix. And the other involved her booking us a room at the same hotel they were staying at in Albuquerque in an attempt for me and my 15-year old friends to try & meet them. We didn’t succeed. She supported my teenage obsessions to say the least. Later, when I was in college in Boston, I went to a record signing & got their last CD before they broke up signed by all of them. So, to say the least, I was SOOOO going to see them in concert on this reunion tour. Admittedly, my music taste has matured to say the least. And I’ll be the first to admit their old material does not hold up well when listened to now. But still, C & I got tickets & saw them on October 6 here in LA, a couple weeks after my mother died. Then, it was a great distraction. We ended up having such a great time that we decided to see if we could get tickets to their 2nd added LA date. The tickets only came through this morning. Really short notice, but we were there. Again, it was so much fun. Before we went to the October concert, I hadn’t listened to their new album. Not really my taste. And I’ll be the first to admit I really thought that October show was going to be painful. I was prepared to be tortured. So, when it wasn’t & it turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun, I was pleasently surprised. And yes, the old songs actually held up pretty well live. Shocking I know. This time I had actually listened to their new album. I hate to admit it (REALLY, I do), but it’s actually kind of good. I’ve struggled when trying to listen to music in recent weeks. Apparently the bulk of the stuff on my iPod is depressing, serious, or sentimental. So, this album is just pure fluff. And fluff is what I need these days. So, yes, as much as it pains me, I have been listening to it a lot. So, this time I actually knew the new songs as well as the old ones. The whole thing was just fun. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in a lot of genres & surprisingly, these last 2 concerts of theirs rank as the funnest (yes, I know that’s not a word) concerts I’ve ever been to. Everybody was up out of their seats the whole time, at both. Yes, there were cringe worthy moments, but still, they were a good laugh. And that just made my day.

To cap off the evening: We had taken the metro to the concert. When we went to catch the last train to head home, we’d missed it. We had to call to get someone to pick us up. The funny thing: the exact same thing happened in October. Then we had to have my younger brother come pick us up. This time C’s younger sister had to pick us up. It just brings so many flashbacks of having our mothers pick us up from the New Kids’ concerts when we were teenagers. An amusing way to end the evening.

Oh, and when I got home, I got a text from another one of my best friends who was in India on business. I was concerned about him with the attacks that have been going there all day. I knew he was leaving today, but wasn’t sure what time. I got a text when I got home tonight saying he had just landed in the US. Good news.

A good day. Kind of nice.

Image: nigel appleton via flickr

Took advantage of the holiday & headed out to Santa Monica for lunch at the pier & some hanging out time on the beach with friends. A beautiful day. Little cool for laying out or going in the water (not that I would ever go near the water at Santa Monica…God, knows what’s floating in there!). But it was nice to just sit on a blanket & talk.

Spent the rest of the evening at a board meeting for the non-profit I volunteer with. Actually, the day my mother died, I was helping out at one of their events. I have to admit, I had a little anxiety as I was heading to the meeting. Just brought up a lot of memories of that day, not that I don’t have those memories almost every day. But still…. The meeting was fine, but it just dragged on longer than it needed to. My goal for our next meeting is to see if I can cut the time in half. We’ll see.

So, haven’t had anytime to write today. I know I could right now. But I’m really trying to get on a schedule so I go to bed earlier & get up earlier, so hopefully I have time in the AM to write and do more work stuff then. Because right now, all my work stuff ends up in the afternoon & evening, which makes it difficult to focus on non-work stuff like that little novel I’m trying to get done. As part of this inquiry into “creative visulatization,” I definitely want to get back to that idea of setting up a schedule for all the work & non-work stuff I want to fit into a day. The days are just getting away from me & there are definitely things I want to be doing & exploring. I really want to live deliberately, & that’s so not happening these days. Gotta change that.

So, overall today didn’t suck, but it still sucked.

Image: Squiggle via flickr

Drove up to Santa Barbara today to visit with friends of my mother & to get some help making sense of genealogy research my mother did. Good on both fronts today.

It was a beautiful day for a drive. It was nice to get away. A break from the norm. A different place.

I’m leaning towards putting draft #2 on hold, for now. During the drive, my mind kept wandering towards possibilities for this new WIP.

The interesting thing…the last couple weeks, at least half a dozen people have told me to write to get through this. The interesting thing, they don’t know I write. All of them suggested writing about what I’m going through, or rather my mother. Which is kind of funny/odd because my mother used to always joke that our family–her included–would make great material for a book. She didn’t know I was working on a novel. I hadn’t told her, or any of my immediate family, because I didn’t want the pressure of being asked (1) what was I writing about, and (2) when was I going to finish it. Telling friends & strangers always entailed less pressure. My current WIP is not about my family. I’m not saying I’m going to now write non-fiction, or non-fiction thinly disguised as fiction. But I think I will be using a thread of all this and spinning it into something. Sticking with fiction. I don’t know, non-fiction just doesn’t appeal to me. Too confining. At least for now. Who knows.

Today wasn’t bad. It’s weird to say that.

A little over a week ago I mentioned the new blog I’m planning to start. I know I said I’d have something up last week, but I’m a little behind. But don’t think I’m not following through, I am. I actually spent part of Friday afternoon out doing some observation. I actually came away with a rather bizarre/surreal event to write about. To be honest, I could keep it completely non-fiction and it would still sound like I was making it up. Not entirely sure if I’m going to fictionalize it yet. I’ll play with it this week. In the meantime, writting “THE END” on the WIP is the primary focus this week…well, that and some work. I hate when that has to get in the way.

Make Music PasadenaDecided to pursue one of my non-writing pastimes today–a little live music. Today was the first Make Music Pasadena festival. MMP is based on the annual French music festival, Fête de la Musique, which I attended several years ago in Paris. This was the first year for Pasadena. I must say, I was rather impressed that the hometown managed to draw some good acts.

I didn’t stay too long, but did enjoy a little Autolux and Raveonettes. The 100+ degree heat was a little unbearable. Admittedly, I’ve braved 3-days in the desert in similar weather conditions for Coachella, but this was a little rougher for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t mentally prepared, or maybe it was the asphalt which just seemed to soak up the sun and bake my shoes. Still, Autolux was good, despite some audio issues. Saw them last fall at the Detour Festival and have to say they were much better this time around. At least I thought so. Had never seen The Raveonettes before. Missed them at Detour. I liked. Apparently, the lead singer was a replacement since the usual one is pregnant; so, am wondering how my like will translate to their album. But still, am checking it out.

Hope this becomes an annual event. Curious to see where this could go.

Must add: I actually took the bus to get there. Admittedly, I don’t live that far from where this all went down. But still. I will take the Metro in LA, but have not taken the bus here in over 15-years. (But in my defense, I lived on the East Coast & Europe for 10-years and never drove once while there–metro & buses all those years.) Decided to be environmentally friendly, plus, wasn’t sure about the parking or traffic situation. All in all, not bad. Might be willing to take the bus from now on when I want to go to Old Town.

Mood: Sun-baked (and a little pissed–I should be at Coachella, but I’m not, and I’m missing Portishead and Prince tonight.)

Currently Listening to: Lucky by Bif Naked

I’m behind. Horribly behind. I will not meet the 100-page goal for the month. I have accepted my failure, embraced it, and have moved on.

At this point, I’m just shooting for 50 pages. Currently at 40. Should have no problem getting there.

Will not be able to type THE END at the end of this month, but at least am closer.

Not all is lost…I’ve realized a few things along the way.

  • I have no clue whether this should be written in 1st or 3rd. I know I’ve been going back and forth all along, most recently settling on 1st. But I’m back again and dangling somewhere between the two. Maybe I should call it a draw and find some middle ground a la Marguerite Duras in The Lover which I just reread recently. But, unlike Duras, my MC is not reflecting on her childhood/the past. She’s if anything telling the story in the present or the recent past. So, I don’t think I need the POV split that Duras needed. God, who knows. The harsh reality is that I’m probably just going to have to suck it up and write a complete draft in 1st and a better 3rd POV draft and then compare the two. I know the current 3rd draft is not a good gage to compare the two. This draft is all about just working through the plot and the characters. I’ll be the first to admit, it sucks shit! And, no, I’m not being overly dramatic. It truly sucks. I know I’m just doing a word/idea dump. It’s just me figuring out my thoughts. There might be a few paragraphs here and there of text that are salvageable. But I’m expecting those to be few and far between. So, far from done!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m not frustrated (thank God!), but am just a bit anxious. I want to get something done. I want to get it done. I want to figure it all out and have the full story.
  • I NEED to work on other things while I’m working on this thing. I attended a panel at the LA Times Book Festival at UCLA this afternoon where the authors were talking about playing around in different genres and experimenting with new/different parameters to just keep your creativity going and to also see what else might be lying beneath. So, new plan. Want to try and write for at least 30-minutes every day using some kind of prompt that’s not about the rules (like characterization, POV, or dialog). No, this should be about using 3 random words in a piece. Or writing about the last person you talked to. Who knows, something might come out of it. Whether it’s related to the WIP or not, I realize I just need to play.
  • I need ice cream! Coldstone’s Birthday Cake Remix to be exact. Must go get now. Screw dinner! That was the grapes anyways, right?!?!
  • I need to start reading more short stories. I’m constantly reading novels, but I think I need to read more new short fiction. Might be time to pick up some lit mags or anthologies.
  • Not that I’m competitive…yes, a total lie…but I’ve been getting some good feedback from my instructor on my pieces. Yeah! And yes, I did compare the comments I got to the ones the other students got (the one plus to an online class!), and I can pretty much say that I’m getting better reviews then they are. Sorry, bad I know. Humor me.

Ok, time for ice cream. I’ve been good all day, plus, I need something to console myself for being here and not in the desert.